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Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


1. What are the Commissioners duties as they relate to Real Estate?
The Commissioner of the Revenue is the Real Property Tax Administrator for the County as such we maintain all records of ownership based on deed transfers, wills, chancery and special warranty deeds, create new parcels based on recordation in the Clerk of Circuit Courts, assess annually all taxes on each taxable parcel, supplement and exonerate all changes in value, maintain tax maps, administer all tax exemptions and special assessment programs of the County and State. In addition, we oversee the Public Service taxation and Bank Franchise validation for the Commonwealth.


2. What is the real estate tax rate?
The current tax rate for real estate is 0.56 per $100. The Board of Supervisors sets this rate annually.


3. What is the purpose of the land use program?
The purpose of the program is to preserve land where real property is specifically devoted to agriculture, forestry and horticultural uses. The program is designed to defer the fair market value and in its place assign a special assessment based strictly on use value versus market value. Market Value represents the highest and best use of real property where Special Assessments for Land Preservation represent limited uses which benefit all citizens. When real property changes from its limited use to the highest and best use, the difference in value or deferment in value assigned through special assessment is taxed for the current and five previous tax years. For example, when parcels change from Forestry or Farm use to residential developments.


4. Why are some properties tax exempt?
In accordance with Title 58.1 Chapter 36 of the Virginia Code real property as delineated in the statute are exempt from taxation by classification or designation. The state code tax exemptions are based on specific "uses" and this office ensures those "uses" are being adhered to prior to granting an exemption. The term exempt by classification refers to real property used by a specific group such as a church, to be exempt by designation a governing body must specify the property owner by name. Property owned by a specific group is not automatically exempt based on ownership name, but that the owner is "using" the property for the exempt purpose of the organization. In order to receive the exemption a letter and/or application is required and in certain cases approval by the Board of Supervisors.


5. How are tax relief programs administered?
Tax Relief programs have qualifications that are either listed in the Code of Virginia, Title 58.1 or the County Code of Gloucester. This office is the administrator for the programs; however, the qualifications and policies that determine whether and individual qualifies are codified in the State and County Codes.


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